You can be on Entrepreneur’s cover!

What You Can Learn About Social Media from Big Bird The Sesame Street character became a social media sensation this week. Here's what entrepreneurs need to learn from the 8-foot-tall yellow bird.

By Catherine Clifford

entrepreneur daily

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

They say that you learn everything you ever needed to know in kindergarten. As far as a social media strategy for your business, that may very well be true.

In the first presidential debate on Wednesday night in Denver, President Barack Obama and former Mass. Gov. Mitt Romney faced off over a slew of domestic policy issues, including the growing deficit, taxes and small businesses. When Romney was asked about what he would do to decrease the federal deficit, one of the programs he said he would stop funding was Public Broadcasting Service. One of PBS's most popular shows is Sesame Street, on which the 8-foot-tall yellow bird is a star.

"I'm sorry, Jim, I'm going to stop the subsidy to PBS. I'm going to stop other things. I like PBS. I love Big Bird. I actually like you, too. But I'm not going to keep on spending money on things to borrow money from China to pay for it. That's number one," said Romney.

Related: LinkedIn Gives Company Pages a Facelift

Almost instantaneously, Big Bird became a social media sensation. Twitter handles were created -- @FiredBigBird and @BigBirdRomney -- among others. The debate was the most tweeted political event in history, according to Twitter's political branch, with 10.3 million Tweets in 90 minutes. Every minute, there were 17,000 tweets for "Big Bird" and 10,000 tweets per minute for "PBS," Twitter's political communications arm tweeted.

Even President Obama's administration got in on the action. The handle @BarackObama tweeted "President Obama: "Thank goodness somebody is finally getting tough on Big Bird.'" In addition, then there were the Facebook memes: image montage including Big Bird and his Sesame Street cohorts.

Related: 3 Steps to Generating Buzz with a YouTube Contest

Here are three things that entrepreneurs can learn from the Big Bird social media explosion:

1. Emotional is best. The reason that everyone got so up in arms about Big Bird, during a presidential debate chock full of economic policy no less, is because people care about Big Bird. "It is something that is dear for people," says Silvina Moschini, the CEO of Intuic, a social media agency that consults the likes of Twitter, Google and MasterCard. People remember Big Bird from their childhood, or they know that their own children are fans of Big Bird. "Touch the heart and it will become viral," says Moschini.

2. Make it visual. Big Bird is more than 8 feet tall and bright yellow. He's hard to miss. "In social media, everything is about having a visual story to tell," says Moschini. Not only does it grab people's attention, but it also gives users something to be creative with. "There were images of Big Bird served on a Thanksgiving dish and Big Bird waiting on an employment line," says Moschini. People react to the images and share them.

Related: 3 App Options for Converting Facebook Fans Into Customers

3. You have got to be on top of your brand on social media. The worst thing an entrepreneur can do is not respond when his or her brand is on stage in the social media world. Things happen quickly. Really quickly. And you can't have your head in the sand.

Entrepreneurs "really need to understand how this dynamic works because some people at large companies and the small companies are afraid of social media," says Moschini. "Just because they are not present does not meant the people will not talk about them." If something negative is said about your brand online, for example, you need to be at the ready to deal with the repercussions.

What has been your most viral social media effort? Leave a comment below and let us know.

Catherine Clifford

Senior Entrepreneurship Writer at CNBC

Catherine Clifford is senior entrepreneurship writer at CNBC. She was formerly a senior writer at Entrepreneur.com, the small business reporter at CNNMoney and an assistant in the New York bureau for CNN. Clifford attended Columbia University where she earned a bachelor's degree. She lives in Brooklyn, N.Y. You can follow her on Twitter at @CatClifford.

Want to be an Entrepreneur Leadership Network contributor? Apply now to join.

Editor's Pick

Business News

James Clear Explains Why the 'Two Minute Rule' Is the Key to Long-Term Habit Building

The hardest step is usually the first one, he says. So make it short.

Side Hustle

He Took His Side Hustle Full-Time After Being Laid Off From Meta in 2023 — Now He Earns About $200,000 a Year: 'Sweet, Sweet Irony'

When Scott Goodfriend moved from Los Angeles to New York City, he became "obsessed" with the city's culinary offerings — and saw a business opportunity.

Living

Get Your Business a One-Year Sam's Club Membership for Just $14

Shop for office essentials, lunch for the team, appliances, electronics, and more.

Business News

Microsoft's New AI Can Make Photographs Sing and Talk — and It Already Has the Mona Lisa Lip-Syncing

The VASA-1 AI model was not trained on the Mona Lisa but could animate it anyway.

Business Ideas

63 Small Business Ideas to Start in 2024

We put together a list of the best, most profitable small business ideas for entrepreneurs to pursue in 2024.